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25 min

1547 to 1721

History of Russia: Tsardom of Russia

by nonoumasy ▲⚬▲⚬

The Tsardom of Russia was the centralized Russian state from the assumption of the title of Tsar by Ivan IV in 1547 until the foundation of the Russian Empire by Peter I in 1721. From 1551 to 1700, Russia grew by 35,000 km2 per Year. The period includes the upheavals of the transition from the Rurik to the Romanov dynasties, wars with the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, Sweden and the Ottoman Empire, and the Russian conquest of Siberia, to the reign of Peter the Great, who took power in 1689 and transformed the Tsardom into a European power. During the Great Northern War, he implemented substantial reforms and proclaimed the Russian Empire (Российская империя, Rossiyskaya imperiya) after victory over Sweden in 1721.

  Table of Contents / Timeline

Portrait of Ivan IV by Viktor Vasnetsov, 1897


Ivan IV becomes the first Tsar of Russia

1547 Jan 16 -

Dormition Cathedral, Moscow

On 16 January 1547, at 16, Ivan was crowned with Monomakh's Cap at the Cathedral of the Dormition. He was the first to be crowned as "Tsar of All the Russias", partly imitating his grandfather, Ivan III the Great, who had claimed the title of Grand Prince of all Rus'. Until then, rulers of Muscovy were crowned as Grand Princes, but Ivan III the Great had styled himself "tsar" in his correspondence. Two weeks after his coronation, Ivan married his first wife, Anastasia Romanovna, a member of the Romanov family, who became the first Russian tsaritsa.

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Qolsharif and his students defend their madrassa and the Cathedral Mosque.


Siege of Kazan

1552 Sep 2 -

Kazan, Russia

The Siege of Kazan in 1552 was the final battle of the Russo-Kazan Wars and led to the fall of the Khanate of Kazan. Conflict continued after the fall of Kazan, however, as rebel governments formed in Çalım and Mişätamaq, and a new khan was invited from the Nogais. This guerrilla war lingered until 1556.

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Astrakhan Khanate conquered

1556 Jan 1 -

Astrakhan, Russia

The Khanate of Astrakhan, also referred to as the Xacitarxan Khanate, was a Tatar state that arose during the break-up of the Golden Horde. Ivan defeated and annexed the Khanate of Kazan on the middle Volga in 1552 and later the Astrakhan Khanate, where the Volga meets the Caspian Sea. These victories transformed Russia into a multiethnic and multiconfessional state, which it continues to be today. The tsar now controlled the entire Volga River and gained access to Central Asia. The new Astrakhan fortress was built in 1558 by Ivan Vyrodkov to replace the old Tatar capital. The annexation of the Tatar khanates meant the conquest of vast territories, access to large markets and control of the entire length of the Volga River. Subjugating Muslim khanates turned Muscovy into an empire.

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Siege of Narva 1558 by Russians


Livonian War begins

1558 Jan 22 -

Estonia and Latvia

The Livonian War (1558–1583) was fought for control of Old Livonia (in the territory of present-day Estonia and Latvia), when the Tsardom of Russia faced a varying coalition of the Dano-Norwegian Realm, the Kingdom of Sweden, and the Union (later Commonwealth) of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of Poland.

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Battle of Ergeme

1560 Aug 2 -

Ērģeme, Latvia

The Battle of Ērģeme was fought on 2 August 1560 in present-day Latvia (near Valga) as part of the Livonian War between the forces of Ivan IV of Russia and the Livonian Confederation. It was the last battle fought by the German knights in Livonia and an important Russian victory. The knights were defeated so thoroughly that the order had to be dissolved.

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The Oprichniks by Nikolai Nevrev shows the execution of the conspirator I. P. Fedorov (right) after a mock coronation.



1565 Feb 1 -

Novgorod Republic

The oprichnina was a state policy implemented by Tsar Ivan the Terrible in Russia between 1565 and 1572. The policy included mass repression of the boyars (Russian aristocrats), including public executions and confiscation of their land and property. In this context it can also refer to: The notorious organization of six thousand Oprichniki, the first political police in the history of Russia. The portion of Russia, ruled directly by Ivan the Terrible, where his Oprichniki operated. The corresponding period of Russian history.

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Russo-Turkish War (1568–1570)

1568 Jan 1 -

Azov, Russia

In 1568 the Grand Vizier Sokollu Mehmet Paşa, who was the real power in the administration of the Ottoman Empire under Selim II, initiated the first encounter between the Ottoman Empire and her future northern arch-rival Russia. The results presaged the many disasters to come. A plan to unite the Volga and Don by a canal was detailed in Constantinople. In the summer of 1569 in response to Moscovy's interference in Ottoman commercial and religious pilgrimages, the Ottoman Empire sent a large force under Kasim Paşa of 20,000 Turks and 50,000 Tatars to lay siege to Astrakhan. Meanwhile an Ottoman fleet besieged Azov. However, a sortie from the garrison under Knyaz (prince) Serebrianyi-Obolenskiy, the military governor of Astrakhan, drove back the besiegers. A Russian relief army of 30,000 attacked and scattered the workmen and the Tatar force sent for their protection. On their way home up to 70% of the remaining soldiers and workers froze to death in the steppes or became victims of attacks by Circassians. The Ottoman fleet was destroyed by a storm. The Ottoman Empire, though militarily defeated, achieved safe passage for Muslim pilgrims and traders from Central Asia and the destruction of the Russian fort on the Terek River.

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Fire of Moscow

1571 Jan 1 -

Moscow, Russia

The Fire of Moscow occurred when the Crimean and Turkish army (8,000 Crimean Tatars, 33,000 irregular Turks and 7,000 janissaries) led by the khan of Crimea Devlet I Giray, bypassed the Serpukhov defensive fortifications on the Oka River, crossed the Ugra River, and rounded the flank of the 6,000-man Russian army. The sentry troops of Russians were crushed by the Crimean-Turkish forces. Not having forces to stop the invasion, the Russian army retreated to Moscow. The rural Russian population also fled to the capital. After defeating the Russian army, the Crimean-Turkish forces besieged the town Moscow, because in 1556 and 1558 Muscovy, violating the oath given to the Giray dynasty, attacked the lands of the Crimean Khanate — Moscow troops invaded the Crimea and burned villages and towns in the Western and Eastern Crimea, with many Crimean Tatars captured or killed. The Crimean Tatar and Ottoman forces set the suburbs on fire on 24 May and a sudden wind blew the flames into Moscow and the city went up in a conflagration. According to Heinrich von Staden, a German in the service of Ivan the Terrible (he claimed to be a member of the Oprichnina)," the city, the palace, the Oprichnina palace, and the suburbs burned down completely in six hours.

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Battle of Molodi

1572 Jul 29 -

Molodi, Russia

The Battle of Molodi was one of the key battles of Ivan the Terrible's reign. It was fought near the village of Molodi, 40 miles (64 km) south of Moscow, between the 40,000–60,000-strong horde of Devlet I Giray of Crimea and about 23,000–25,000 Russians led by Prince Mikhail Vorotynsky. The Crimeans had burned Moscow the previous Year, but this time they were thoroughly defeated.

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Vasiliy Surikov, "Yermak's conquest of Siberia"


Russian conquest of Siberia

1580 Jul 1 -

Siberia, Russia

The Russian conquest of Siberia began in July 1580 when some 540 Cossacks under Yermak Timofeyevich invaded the territory of the Voguls, subjects to Küçüm, the Khan of Siberia. They were accompanied by some Lithuanian and German mercenaries and prisoners of war. Throughout 1581, this force traversed the territory known as Yugra and subdued Vogul and Ostyak towns. In order to subjugate the natives and collect yasak (fur tribute), a series of winter outposts (zimovie) and forts (ostrogs) were built at the confluences of major rivers and streams and important portages. Following the khan's death and the dissolution of any organised Siberian resistance, the Russians advanced first towards Lake Baikal and then the Sea of Okhotsk and the Amur River. However, when they first reached the Chinese border they encountered people that were equipped with artillery pieces and here they halted.

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The wounded Ivan being cradled by his father Ivan the Terrible killing his son by Ilya Repin


Ivan killed his oldest son.

1581 Nov 16 -

Moscow, Russia

Ivan Ivanovich's relationship with his father began to deteriorate during the later stages of the Livonian War. Angry with his father for his military failures, Ivan demanded to be given command of some troops to liberate besieged Pskov. Their relationship further deteriorated when on 15 November 1581, the Tsar, after seeing his pregnant daughter-in-law wearing unconventionally light clothing, physically assaulted her. In a fit of anger, Ivan murdered his eldest son and heir, Ivan Ivanovich, and the latter's unborn child, which left his younger son, the politically ineffectual Feodor Ivanovich, to inherit the throne, a man whose rule directly led to the end of the Rurikid dynasty and the beginning of the Time of Troubles.

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Livonian War ends

1583 Jan 1 -

Plyussa, Russia

The Treaty or Truce of Plussa was a truce between Russia and Sweden, which ended the Livonian War (1558-1583). The truce was signed on 10 August 1583 at the Plyussa River north of the city of Pskov. According to the truce, Sweden kept the annexed Russian towns of Ivangorod (Ivanslott), Jamburg, Koporye (Kaprio) and Korela (Kexholm/Käkisalmi) with their uyezds, holding control over Ingria. Russia kept a narrow passage to the Baltic Sea at the estuary of the Neva River, between Strelka and Sestra Rivers.

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Port of Archangel


Archangelsk founded

1584 Jan 1 -

Arkhangelsk, Russia

Ivan ordered the founding of New Kholmogory (which would later be renamed after the nearby Archangel Michael Monastery). At the time access to the Baltic Sea was still mostly controlled by Sweden, so while Arkhangelsk was icebound in winter, it remained Moscow's almost sole link to the sea-trade. Local inhabitants, called Pomors, were the first to explore trade routes to Northern Siberia as far as the trans-Urals city of Mangazeya and beyond.

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Ivan IV's death by K.Makovsky


Death of Ivan IV

1584 Mar 28 -

Moscow, Russia

Ivan died from a stroke while he was playing chess with Bogdan Belsky on 28 March 1584. Upon Ivan's death, the Russian throne was left to his unfit middle son, Feodor, a weak-minded figure. Boris Godunov took de facto charge of government. Feodor died childless in 1598, which ushered in the Time of Troubles.

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Russo-Swedish War (1590–1595)

1590 Jan 1 -

Narva, Estonia

The Russo-Swedish War of 1590–1595 was instigated by Boris Godunov in the hope of gaining the territory of the Duchy of Estonia along the Gulf of Finland belonging to Sweden since the previous Livonian War. As soon as the Truce of Plussa expired early in 1590, a large Russian army led by Godunov and his sickly brother-in-law, Fyodor I of Russia, marched from Moscow towards Novgorod. On 18 January they crossed the Narva River and laid siege to the Swedish castle of Narva, commanded by Arvid Stålarm. Another important fortress, Jama (Jamburg), fell to Russian forces within two weeks. Simultaneously, the Russians ravaged Estonia as far as Reval (Tallinn) and Finland as far as Helsingfors (Helsinki). Sweden, in May 1595, agreed to sign the Treaty of Teusina (Tyavzino, Tyavzin, Täyssinä). It restored to Russia all territory ceded in the Truce of Plussa of 1583 to Sweden except for Narva. Russia had to renounce all claims on Estonia, including Narva, and Sweden's sovereignty over Estonia from 1561 was confirmed.

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Boris Godunow Tsar of Russia


Boris Godunow elected Tsar of Russia

1598 Sep 1 -

Moscow, Russia

On the death of the childless Feodor on 7 January 1598, as well as the rumored assassination of Feodor's much younger brother Dimitry, led Boris' rise to power. His election was proposed by Patriarch Job of Moscow, who believed that Boris was the one man capable of coping with the difficulties of the situation. Boris, however, would accept the throne only from the Zemsky Sobor (national assembly), which met on 17 February and unanimously elected him on 21 February. On 1 September, he was solemnly crowned tsar. He recognized the need for Russia to catch up with the intellectual progress of the West and did his best to bring about educational and social reforms. He was the first tsar to import foreign teachers on a large scale, the first to send young Russians abroad to be educated, and the first to allow Lutheran churches to be built in Russia.

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Great Famine of 1601, a 19th-century engraving


Russian famine of 1601–1603

1601 Jan 1 -


The Russian famine of 1601–1603, Russia's worst famine in terms of proportional effect on the population, killed perhaps two million people: about 30% of the Russian people. The famine compounded the Time of Troubles (1598-1613), when the Tsardom of Russia was unsettled politically and later invaded by the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The many deaths contributed to social disruption and helped bring about the downfall of Tsar Boris Godunov, who had been elected tsar in 1598. The famine resulted from a series of worldwide record cold winters and crop disruption, which geologists in 2008 linked to the 1600 volcanic eruption of Huaynaputina in Peru.

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Polish–Muscovite War


Polish–Muscovite War (1605–1618)

1605 Jan 1 -

Zaraysk, Russia

Poland exploited Russia's civil wars when members of the Polish szlachta aristocracy began influencing Russian boyars and supporting False Dmitris for the title of Tsar of Russia against the crowned Boris Godunov and Vasili IV Shuysky. In 1605, Polish nobles conducted a series of skirmishes until the death of False Dmitry I in 1606, and invaded again in 1607 until Russia formed a military alliance with Sweden two years later.

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Slaget vid Novgorod 1611 (Johan Hammer)


Ingrian War

1610 Jan 1 -


The Ingrian War between the Swedish Empire and the Tsardom of Russia lasted between 1610 and 1617. It can be seen as part of Russia's Time of Troubles and is mainly remembered for the attempt to put a Swedish duke on the Russian throne. It ended with a large Swedish territorial gain in the Treaty of Stolbovo, which laid an important foundation to Sweden's Age of Greatness.

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Battle of Klushino

1610 Jul 4 -

Klushino, Russia

The Battle of Klushino, or the Battle of Kłuszyn, was fought on 4 July 1610, between forces of the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland and the Tsardom of Russia during the Polish–Muscovite War, part of Russia's Time of Troubles. The battle occurred near the village of Klushino near Smolensk. In the battle the outnumbered Polish force secured a decisive victory over Russia, due to the tactical competence of hetman Stanisław Żółkiewski and the military prowess of Polish hussars, the elite of the army of the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland. The battle is remembered as one of the greatest triumphs of the Polish cavalry and an example of excellence and supremacy of the Polish military at the time.

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Shuyski Tsar brought by Żółkiewski to the Sejm in Warsaw before Sigismund III, by Jan Matejko


Poles in Moscow

1610 Aug 8 -

Moscow, Russia

On 31 January 1610 Sigismund received a delegation of boyars opposed to Shuyski, who asked Władysław to become the tsar. On 24 February Sigismund sent them a letter in which he agreed to do so, but only when Moscow was at peace. The combined Russian and Swedish armies were defeated on 4 July 1610 at the battle of Klushino. After the news of Klushino spread, support for Tsar Shuyski almost completely evaporated. Żółkiewski soon convinced the Russian units at Tsaryovo, which were much stronger than the ones at Kłuszyn, to capitulate and to swear an oath of loyalty to Władysław. In August 1610 many Russian boyars accepted that Sigismund III was victorious and that Władysław would become the next tsar if he converted to Eastern Orthodoxy. After a few skirmishes, the pro-Polish faction gained dominance, and the Poles were allowed into Moscow on 8 October. The boyars opened Moscow's gates to the Polish troops and asked Żółkiewski to protect them from anarchy. The Moscow Kremlin was then garrisoned by Polish troops commanded by Aleksander Gosiewski.

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Battle of Moscow

1611 Mar 1 -

Moscow, Russia

In March 1611, citizens of Moscow rebelled against the Poles, and the Polish garrison was besieged in Kremlin by the First People's Militia, led by Prokopy Lyapunov, a Ryazan-born noble. Poorly armed militia failed to take the fortress, and soon fell into disorder Getting news that a Polish relief army under Hetman Chodkiewicz was approaching Moscow, Minin and Pozharsky entered Moscow in August 1612 and besieged the Polish garrison in the Kremlin. The 9,000-strong Polish army under hetman Jan Karol Chodkiewicz attempted to lift the siege and clashed with Russian forces, attempting to break through to Polish forces in the Kremlin on 1 September. After early Polish successes, the Russian Cossack reinforcements had forced Chodkiewicz's forces to retreat from Moscow. Russian reinforcements under Prince Pozharsky eventually starved the Commonwealth garrison (there were reports of cannibalism) and forced its surrender on 1 November (though some sources give 6 November or 7 November) after the 19-month siege. The Polish soldiers withdrew from Moscow. Although the Commonwealth negotiated a safe passage, the Russian forces massacred half of the former Kremlin garrison forces as they left the fortress. Thus, the Russian army recaptured Moscow.

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Michael I of Russia, the first tsar of the Romanov-Dynasty (1613 - 1645)


The Romanovs

1613 Feb 21 -

Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius

A zemsky sobor elected Michael Romanov, a grandson of Ivan the Terrible's brother-in-law, the tsar of Russia. The Romanovs becomes Russia's second reigning dynasty and would rule for the next 300 years.

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End of Ingrian War: Siege of Pskov

1617 Feb 1 -

Pskov, Russia

The Siege of Pskov between 9 August and 27 October 1615 was the final battle of the Ingrian War. Swedish forces under Gustav II Adolf laid siege to Pskov, but were unable to take the city. After a cruel defeat, King Gustavus Adolphus decided not to continue the war with Russia. Sweden already then planned to resume the struggle with Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth for the Baltic states and was not ready for a war on two fronts. On December 15, 1615 , a truce was concluded, and both parties initiated peace negotiations that ended with Treaty of Stolbovo in 1617. As a result of the war, Russia was denied access to the Baltic sea for about a century, despite its persistent efforts to reverse the situation. That led to the increased importance of Arkhangelsk for its trading connections with Western Europe.

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Polish–Russian War ends

1619 Jan 4 -


The Truce of Deulino was signed on 11 December 1618 and took effect on 4 January 1619. It concluded the Polish–Muscovite War (1605–1618) between the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Tsardom of Russia. The agreement marked the greatest geographical expansion of the Commonwealth (0,99 million km²),which lasted until the Commonwealth conceded the loss of Livonia in 1629. The Commonwealth gained control over the Smolensk and Chernihiv Voivodeships. The truce was set to expire within 14.5 years. The parties exchanged prisoners, including Filaret Romanov, Patriarch of Moscow. Władysław IV, son of Commonwealth king Sigismund III Vasa, refused to relinquish his claim to the Moscow throne.

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Smolensk War

1632 Aug 1 -

Smolensk, Russia

The Smolensk War (1632–1634) was a conflict fought between the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and Russia. Hostilities began in October 1632 when Russian forces tried to capture the city of Smolensk. Small military engagements produced mixed results for both sides, but the surrender of the main Russian force in February 1634 led to the Treaty of Polyanovka. Russia accepted Polish–Lithuanian control over the Smolensk region, which lasted for another 20 years.

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Микола Івасюк "В'їзд Богдана Хмельницького до Києва"


Khmelnytsky Uprising

1648 Jan 1 -

Lviv, Ukraine

The Khmelnytsky Uprising was a Cossack rebellion that took place between 1648 and 1657 in the eastern territories of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, which led to the creation of a Cossack Hetmanate in Ukraine. Under the command of Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky, the Zaporozhian Cossacks, allied with the Crimean Tatars and local Ukrainian peasantry, fought against Polish domination and against the Commonwealth forces. The insurgency was accompanied by mass atrocities committed by Cossacks against the civilian population, especially against the Roman Catholic clergy and the Jews.

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Meeting of Chmielnicki with Tuhaj Bej


Battle of Korsuń

1648 May 26 -

Korsun-Shevchenkivskyi, Ukra

Battle of Korsuń (Ukrainian: Корсунь, Polish: Korsuń), (May 26, 1648) was the second significant battle of the Khmelnytsky Uprising. Near the site of the present-day city of Korsun-Shevchenkivskyi in central Ukraine, a numerically superior force of Cossacks and Crimean Tatars under the command of Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky and Tugay Bey attacked and defeated Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth forces under the command of Hetmans Mikołaj Potocki and Marcin Kalinowski. As in the previous battle at Zhovti Vody, the outmanned Commonwealth forces took a defensive position, retreated, and were thoroughly routed by the opposing force.

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First chapter of the code


Sobornoye Ulozheniye

1649 Jan 1 -


The Sobornoe Ulozhenie was a legal code promulgated in 1649 by the Zemsky Sobor under Alexis of Russia as a replacement for the Sudebnik of 1550 introduced by Ivan IV of Russia. The code survived well into the 19th century (up to 1849), when its articles were revised under the direction of Mikhail Speransky. The code consolidated Russia's slaves and free peasants into a new serf class and pronounced class hereditary as unchangeable. The new code prohibited travel between towns without an internal passport. Russian nobility agreed to serve in the army, but were granted the exclusive privilege of owning serfs.

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Old Believer Priest Nikita Pustosvyat Disputing with Patriarch Joachim on Matters of Faith. Painting by Vasily Perov (1880)



1653 Jan 1 -


Raskol was the splitting of the Russian Orthodox Church into an official church and the Old Believers movement in the mid-17th century. It was triggered by the reforms of Patriarch Nikon in 1653, which aimed to establish uniformity between Greek and Russian church practices. Over the centuries, many features of Russian religious practice had been inadvertently altered by unlettered priests and laity, removing Russian Orthodoxy ever further from its Greek Orthodox parent faith. Reforms intended to remove these idiosyncrasies were instituted under the direction of the autocratic Russian patriarch Nikon between 1652 and 1667. With the support from the Russian Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich, Patriarch Nikon began the process of correction of the Russian divine service books in accordance with their modern Greek counterparts and changed some of the rituals (the two-finger sign of the cross was replaced by the one with three fingers, "hallelujah" was to be pronounced three times instead of two etc.). These innovations met with resistance from both the clergy and the people, who disputed the legitimacy and correctness of these reforms, referring to theological traditions and Eastern Orthodox ecclesiastic rules.

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Russo-Polish War (1654–1667)

1654 Jan 1 -


The Russo-Polish War of 1654–1667, also called the Thirteen Years' War and the First Northern War, was a major conflict between the Tsardom of Russia and the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Between 1655 and 1660, the Swedish invasion was also fought in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and so the period became known in Poland as "The Deluge" or Swedish Deluge. The Commonwealth initially suffered defeats, but it regained its ground and won several decisive battles. However, its plundered economy was not able to fund the long conflict. Facing internal crisis and civil war, the Commonwealth was forced to sign a truce. The war ended with significant Russian territorial gains and marked the beginning of the rise of Russia as a great power in Eastern Europe.

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The siege of Riga by the Russian troops in 1656


Russo-Swedish War

1656 Jul 1 -


The Russo-Swedish War of 1656–1658 was fought by Russia and Sweden as a theater of the Second Northern War. It took place during a pause in the contemporary Russo-Polish War (1654-1667) as a consequence of the Truce of Vilna. Despite initial successes, Tsar Alexis of Russia failed to secure his principal objective—to revise the Treaty of Stolbovo, which had stripped Russia of the Baltic coast at the close of the Ingrian War. By the end of 1658, Denmark was knocked out of the Northern Wars and the Ukrainian Cossacks under Khmelnytskyi's successor, Ivan Vyhovsky, allied themselves with Poland, changing the international situation drastically and inducing the tsar to resume the war against Poland as soon as possible. When the term expired, Russia's military position in the Polish war had deteriorated to such a point that the tsar could not allow himself to be involved into a new conflict against powerful Sweden. His boyars had no other choice but to sign in 1661 the Treaty of Kardis (Kärde), which obliged Russia to yield its Livonian and Ingrian conquests to Sweden, confirming the provisions of the Treaty of Stolbovo.

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Battle of Chudnov

1660 Nov 2 -

Chudniv, Ukraine

The Battle of Chudnov took place between the forces of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, allied with the Crimean Tatars, and the Tsardom of Russia, allied with the Cossacks. It ended with a decisive Polish victory, and the truce of Chudnov (Polish: Cudnów). The entire Russian army, including its commander, was taken into jasyr slavery by the Tatars. The battle was a major victory for the Poles, who succeeded in eliminating most of Russian forces, weakened the Cossacks and kept their alliance with the Crimean Tatars. The Poles, however, were unable to capitalize on that victory; their army retreated in poor order. Furthermore, the country had failed to provide wages for most of the army, which resulted in mutinies in 1661. This prevented the Poles from taking initiative and allowed the Russians time to rebuild their armies.

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End of Russo-Polish War: Truce of Andrusovo

1667 Jan 1 -

Andrusovo, Russia

The Truce of Andrusovo (Polish: Rozejm w Andruszowie, Russian: Андрусовское перемирие, Andrusovskoye Pieriemiriye, also sometimes known as Treaty of Andrusovo) established a thirteen-and-a-half Year truce, signed in 1667 between the Tsardom of Russia and the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, which had fought the Russo-Polish War since 1654 over the territories of modern-day Ukraine and Belarus. Afanasy Ordin-Nashchokin (for Russia) and Jerzy Chlebowicz (for the Commonwealth) signed the truce on 30 January/9 February 1667 in the village of Andrusovo not far from Smolensk. Representatives of the Cossack Hetmanate were not allowed.

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Stepan Razin Sailing in the Caspian Sea by Vasily Surikov, 1906.


Stenka Razin Rebellion

1670 Jan 1 -

Chyorny Yar, Russia

In 1670 Razin, while ostensibly on his way to report at the Cossack headquarters on the Don, openly rebelled against the government, capturing Cherkassk and Tsaritsyn. After capturing Tsaritsyn, Razin sailed up the Volga with his army of almost 7,000 men. The men traveled toward Cherny Yar, a government stronghold between Tsaritsyn and Astrakhan. Razin and his men swiftly took Cherny Yar when the Cherny Yar streltsy rose up against their officers and joined the Cossack cause in June 1670. On June 24 he reached the city of Astrakhan. Astrakhan, Moscow's wealthy "window on the East," occupied a strategically important location at the mouth of the Volga River on the shore of the Caspian Sea. Razin plundered the city despite its location on a strongly fortified island and the stone walls and brass cannons that surrounded the central citadel. After massacring all who opposed him (including two Princes Prozorovsky) and giving the rich bazaars of the city over to pillage, he converted Astrakhan into a Cossack republic. In 1671, Stepan and his brother Frol Razin were captured at Kagalnik fortress (Кагальницкий городок) by Cossack elders. Stepan was then executed in Moscow.

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Russo-Turkish War

1676 Jan 1 -

Chyhyryn, Ukraine

The Russo-Turkish War of 1676–1681, a war between the Tsardom of Russia and Ottoman Empire, caused by Turkish expansionism in the second half of the 17th century. After having captured and devastated the region of Podolia in the course of the Polish–Turkish War of 1672–1676, the Ottoman government strove to spread its rule over all of the Right-bank Ukraine with the support of its vassal (since 1669), Hetman Petro Doroshenko. The latter’s pro-Turkish policy caused discontent among many Ukrainian Cossacks, which would elect Ivan Samoilovich (Hetman of the Left-bank Ukraine) as a sole Hetman of all Ukraine in 1674.

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End of Russo-Turkish War: Treaty of Bakhchisarai

1681 Jan 3 -


The Treaty of Bakhchisarai was signed in Bakhchisaray, which ended the Russo-Turkish War (1676–1681), on 3 January 1681 by Russia, the Ottoman Empire, and the Crimean Khanate. They agreed to a 20-year truce and had accepted the Dnieper River as the demarcation line between the Ottoman Empire and Moscow's domain. All sides agreed not to settle the territory between the Southern Bug and Dnieper rivers. After the signing of the treaty, the Nogai hordes still retained the right to live as nomads in the southern steppes of Ukraine, while the Cossacks retained the right to fish in the Dnieper and its tributaries; to obtain salt in the south; and to sail on the Dnieper and the Black Sea. The Ottoman sultan then recognized Muscovy's sovereignty in the Left-bank Ukraine region and the Zaporozhian Cossack domain, while the southern part of the Kiev region, the Bratslav region, and Podolia were left under Ottoman control. The Bakhchisaray peace treaty once again redistributed land between neighboring states. The treaty was also of great international significance and stipulated the signing of “Eternal Peace” in 1686 between Russia and Poland.

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Painting depicting the Battle of Vienna, 1683


Great Turkish War

1683 Jul 14 -

Vienna, Austria

The Great Turkish War (German: Großer Türkenkrieg) or the Wars of the Holy League (Turkish: Kutsal İttifak Savaşları) was a series of conflicts between the Ottoman Empire and the Holy League consisting of the Holy Roman Empire, Poland-Lithuania, Venice, Russia, and Habsburg Hungary. Intensive fighting began in 1683 and ended with the signing of the Treaty of Karlowitz in 1699. The war was a defeat for the Ottoman Empire, which for the first time lost large amounts of territory. It lost lands in Hungary and the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, as well as part of the western Balkans. The war was also significant in that it marked the first time Russia was involved in a western European alliance. The War was ended with the Treaty of Constantinople of 1700. The treaty ceded the Azov region to Peter the Great.

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Crimean campaigns

1687 Jan 1 -

Okhtyrka, Ukraine

The Crimean campaigns of 1687 and 1689 were two military campaigns of the Tsardom of Russia against the Crimean Khanate. They were a part of the Russo-Turkish War (1686–1700) and Russo-Crimean Wars. These were the first Russian forces to come close to Crimea since 1569. They failed due to poor planning and the practical problem of moving such a large force across the steppe but nonetheless played a key role in halting the Ottoman expansion in Europe. The campaigns came as a surprise for the Ottoman leadership, spoiled its plans to invade Poland and Hungary and forced it to move significant forces from Europe to the east, which greatly helped the League in its struggle against the Ottomans.

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Peter on board of his yacht en route to the Peter and Paul


Grand Embassy of Peter the Great

1697 Aug 25 -


In 1697 and 1698, Peter the Great embarked on his Grand Embassy. The primary goal of the mission was to strengthen and broaden the Holy League, Russia's alliance with a number of European countries against the Ottoman Empire in the Russian struggle for the northern coastline of the Black Sea. The tsar also sought to hire foreign specialists for Russian service and to acquire military weapons. Officially, the Grand Embassy was headed by the "grand ambassadors" Franz Lefort, Fedor Golovin and Prokopy Voznitsyn. In fact, it was led by Peter himself, who went along incognito under the name of Peter Mikhailov.

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Great Northern War

1700 Aug 19 -

Eastern Europe

The Great Northern War (1700–1721) was a conflict in which a coalition led by the Tsardom of Russia successfully contested the supremacy of the Swedish Empire in Northern, Central and Eastern Europe. The initial leaders of the anti-Swedish alliance were Peter I of Russia, Frederick IV of Denmark–Norway and Augustus II the Strong of Saxony–Poland–Lithuania. Frederick IV and Augustus II were defeated by Sweden, under Charles XII, and forced out of the alliance in 1700 and 1706 respectively, but rejoined it in 1709 after the defeat of Charles XII at the Battle of Poltava. George I of Great Britain and the Electorate of Hanover joined the coalition in 1714 for Hanover and in 1717 for Britain, and Frederick William I of Brandenburg-Prussia joined it in 1715.

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St. Petersburg Founded

1703 May 12 -

St. Petersburgh, Russia

Swedish colonists built Nyenskans, a fortress at the mouth of the Neva River in 1611, which was later called Ingermanland, which was inhabited by Finnic tribe of Ingrians. The small town of Nyen grew up around it. At the end of the 17th century, Peter the Great, who was interested in seafaring and maritime affairs, wanted Russia to gain a seaport to trade with the rest of Europe. He needed a better seaport than the country's main one at the time, Arkhangelsk, which was on the White Sea in the far north and closed to shipping during the winter. The city was built by conscripted peasants from all over Russia; a number of Swedish prisoners of war were also involved in some years under the supervision of Alexander Menshikov. Tens of thousands of serfs died building the city. Peter moved the capital from Moscow to Saint Petersburg in 1712.

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Battle of Poltava 1709


Battle of Poltava

1709 Jul 8 -

Poltava, Russia

The Battle of Poltava was the decisive victory of Peter the Great (Peter I of Russia) over the Swedish Empire forces under Swedish king Charles XII, in one of the battles of the Great Northern War. It marked the turning point of the war, the end of Cossack independence, the beginning of the Swedish Empire's decline as a European great power, while the Tsardom of Russia took its place as the leading nation of north-eastern Europe The battle also bears major importance in Ukrainian national history, as Hetman of Zaporizhian Host Ivan Mazepa sided with the Swedes, seeking to create an uprising in Ukraine against the tsardom.

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Russo-Ottoman War of 1710–1711

1710 Jan 1 -

Brăila, Romania

The Russo-Ottoman War of 1710-1711 broke out as a result of the Great Northern War, which pitted the Swedish Empire of King Charles XII of Sweden against the Russian Empire of Tsar Peter I. Charles invaded Russian-ruled Ukraine in 1708, but suffered a decisive defeat at the Battle of Poltava in the summer of 1709. He and his retinue fled to the Ottoman fortress of Bender, in the Ottoman vassal principality of Moldavia. Ottoman Sultan Ahmed III declined incessant Russian demands for Charles's eviction, prompting Tsar Peter I of Russia to attack the Ottoman Empire, which in its turn declared war on Russia on 20 November 1710.

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Battle of Stănileşti

1711 Jul 19 -

Stănilești, Romania

Peter tried to bring up the main army to relieve the advance guard, but the Ottomans repulsed his troops. He withdrew the Russo-Moldavian army army into a defensive position at Stănileşti, where they entrenched. The Ottoman army rapidly surrounded this position, trapping Peter's army. The Ottomans bombarded the Russo-Moldavian camp with artillery, preventing them from reaching the Prut for water. Starving and thirsty, Peter was left with no choice but to sign a peace on Ottoman terms, which he duly did on 22 July. The Treaty of the Pruth reconfirmed in 1713 through the Treaty of Adrianople (1713), stipulated the return of Azov to the Ottomans; Taganrog and several Russian fortresses were to be demolished; and the Tsar pledged to stop interfering in the affairs of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Ottomans also demanded that Charles XII be granted safe passage to Sweden

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Emperor Peter the Great


The Russian Empire

1721 Jan 1 -

St Petersburgh, Russia

Peter the Great officially renamed the Tsardom of Russia as the Russian Empire in 1721 and became its first emperor. He instituted sweeping reforms and oversaw the transformation of Russia into a major European power. (Painting made after 1717.)

Check out next:

History of Russia: Russian Empire

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  • Bushkovitch, P. (2014). The Testament of Ivan the Terrible. Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History, 15(3), 653–656.
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  • Yaşar, M. (2016). The North Caucasus between the Ottoman Empire and the Tsardom of Muscovy: The Beginnings, 1552-1570. Iran & the Caucasus, 20(1), 105–125.

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